The campground closing schedule was recently updated. The following campgrounds will close later or earlier than previously scheduled: Foothills
Buckeye Flat Campground: All sites close on Wednesday, October 23 at noon. Cedar Grove
Sentinel Campground: All sites close Tuesday, November 12 at noon.
Sheep Creek Campground: All sites close Wednesday, September 04 at noon.
Moraine Campground: Sites 01 - 46 and 51 - 68 close Wednesday, September 04 at noon. All other sites close Wednesday, October 16 at noon. Note: The road to Cedar Grove will close Tuesday, November 12 at noon. Please plan on leaving the canyon before that time.
Due to tree work, there will be 5 - 10 minute traffic delays on Generals Highway between Eleven Range Overlook and Giant Forest. Delays are in effect Monday - Thursday through August. Plan extra travel time, especially if you have Crystal Cave reservations. Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are now in effect, due to the increased risk of fire as we enter the hottest and driest part of the year. While restrictions are in effect, wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in Hospital Rock and Ash Mountain Picnic Areas, South Fork Campground, and in wilderness areas below 6,000 feet. Smoking is prohibited below 6,000 feet except in enclosed vehicles, permitted campgrounds, and designated smoking areas.
Road construction along sections of the Generals Highway is underway. Construction will take place from the Highway 180 junction to Little Baldy Saddle. All national park and US Forest Service areas and local facilities will remain open. However, there will be driving delays of up to one hour to allow cars to pass through the one-lane construction zone. For more information, visit the road construction web page.
Be extremely cautious near rivers, especially during spring and early summer. Strong currents often run under apparently calm water, and cold water will quickly sap your strength. Water levels change through the day— where there is a beach in the morning may be deep underwater by the afternoon. Creek crossings along trails are unstable; If you're unsure if it's safe to cross, turn back.
The Zumwalt Meadow Trail loop in Cedar Grove is partially closed due to damage from flooding. To see the meadow, start at Road's End and take the River Trail downriver to the meadow for a 1.7 mile round-trip. Mist Falls Trail is muddy, but passible with caution. Check in at Cedar Grove Visitor Center for the most up-to-date conditions.
In the Foothills, this year's late and heavy snowfall means especially high, swift, and cold rivers. Water levels are now falling, but cold, swift currents pose unique challenges and can be deadly even to experienced swimmers. Ticks are especially common here at this time of year; check yourself after a walk. Also, rattlesnakes have been sighted at low-elevation areas.
Marmots in Mineral King can damage or even disable cars by chewing through wires. If you plan on parking at Mineral King Ranger Station, or farther east along Mineral King Road (including in trailhead parking lots), protect your vehicle with a tarp. A limited number of tarps is available at the ranger station on a first-come, first-served basis.
Mineral King Valley is now snow-free. However, snowpack remains at about 9,800 feet (2004.16 m) elevation and above. Trail conditions vary greatly; check trail conditions or ask at Mineral King Ranger Station. If you're planning a Mineral King wilderness trip, be prepared for 2 - 4 feet of snow and extremely hazardous river crossings.
Because of the extreme elevation range in these parks, weather conditions vary widely between areas.
In summer, the sequoia groves have comfortable temperatures and the foothills are hot and dry. Snow lingers on high-mountain passes well into summer.
In fall, some areas close or reduce their hours. Winter brings snow to sequoia groves and rain to the foothills. Be prepared for tire chain requirements.
Spring is a great time to hike in the foothills and snow begins to melt at higher elevations.